Gaza City, August 5, 2014
The first known Palestinian Christian has been killed in an explosion in Gaza in the continuing military conflict with Israel.
Israel-Gaza hostilities. Jalila Ayyad, a 65-year-old woman from Gaza, was found dead in a pile of torn Bibles, China's State-run Xinhua News agency reported.
Jalila Ayyad was known among the people of Gaza as a woman that had nothing to do with any militia groups, Middle East Eye reported.
"We are a Christian minority and have no links to Hamas or Fatah - we keep to ourselves and avoid problems," said Fouad Ayyad, Jalila's nephew.
Jalila's nephew, their house was badly damaged after two missiles struck the vacant lot near their house on July 27.
The huge explosions killed the woman and injured members of her family.
Jeries, Jalila's 32-year-old son, survived but was in a critical condition.
Sami El-Yousef, regional director for Palestine and Israel for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), reported to the National Catholic Register that Jeries sustained extensive burns and shrapnel wounds that required the amputation of both his legs.
Jalila's body was brought to the ancient Orthodox Church where hundreds of Muslims are presently staying. Both Christians and Muslim attended the funeral.
Ibrahim Jahshan, a Christian from Gaza, told Xinhua that the Muslim and Christian blood are one. "We are brothers, neighbors and friends," said Jahshan. "When a missile or a tank shell is fired, it doesn't differentiate between a Muslim and a Christian."
The Christian churches and other Christian institutions in Gaza prove that there is no need for a Muslim and Christian divide.
Since the war broke, the Christians brought hope to the hundreds of displaced Muslims.
The Holy Family School, the Greek Orthodox parish, and the Greek Orthodox Cultural Center have all opened up their facilities to serve the refugees. The Al Ahli Hospital continues to serve the community free of charge.
A small Baptist community in Gaza also continues to serve its Christian members.
While it is no longer holding church services, Pastor Hanna Maher still holds house meetings to encourage the members. The Baptist church is dangerously situated right across the street from a police station. The police station has been attacked several times, the Open Doors rights group said.
Sami El-Yousef is encouraged with how Christians are responding.
"The Christian mission is certainly at its best. These brave souls who are personally risking their lives continue to comfort the injured and displaced, and provide assistance to the weak and marginalized with the Gospel in their hearts."